Our church server crashed this past week. Our staff has had to go without the internet, printing, storage, accessing most documents, and email while in our building for what should be 6 days before it is resolved. Server-a-geddon has been a painful process so I thought I would share the top 5 things I learned during this fiasco.

  1. You can still hand write things in marker and copy them if you have to.
  2. Working from home on your laptop (where you have internet) means you don’t have to brush your teeth until 11:00.
  3. Living off of a flash drive is stressful.
  4. Not having technology isn’t what makes your week stressful, it’s the fact that everyone else in the world still has it and continues with their pace of life.
  5. The server that crashed was Windows based…..that’s all I’m saying.


  • I was once told that Satan attacks things that threaten him. He didn’t want tonight to happen and I can see why.
  • Our server died Tuesday night at the church. That means all day Wednesday I couldn’t get to most of my stored files, email, get on the Internet, or print. Just as you guessed it was a frustrating day.
  • On top of that my family has been sick enough that I left Wednesday night before it was over and almost didn’t go at all.
  • As far as the server, I had the important stuff saved on my desktop for Wednesday night.
  • We made a handwritten service order and photocopied it. It felt like a garage band set list.
  • Our check-in was a pen and a paper. Rachel should have fun tracking the follow up this week.
  • Tonight was the first in some stand alones that we are calling “youpick”. Our group voted for Spiritual Warfare, Forgiveness, and a night of worship.
  • Jim Heffner drew the assignment of Spiritual Warfare tonight. He took the angle of a talk show host as we book ended the night with teaching on both sides of an interview.
  • It was simple yet profound. He spoke from Eph. 6 and talked about our struggles in life not bring against flesh and blood but against Satan.
  • He interviewed Rebecca who has had some major attacks in her life that Satan wanted to use. She had every person in the room hanging on her every word.
  • I love that passage in II Cor. 1 that says that God is with us through our pain so we can show his comfort to others. Rebecca did that tonight and the response of people wanting to talk and pray with her proved it.
  • Great time of worship once people had been taught from the Word.
  • Summer trip apps came rolling in tonight.
  • Kalahari is around the corner….more to come on that.
  • I’m tired.


  • There was no HSM Wednesday night last week so it was great to be back after 13 days away.
  • It amazing how a week off will kill momentum, or at least the illusion of it.
  • Numbers were down about 20%. I was amazed how many people texted me to ask if we were still on. Students have only been to school half the days of the last 2 weeks and just assume most of their lives are canceled.
  • The lesson was very straightforward out of Mark 12 on giving.  To shake up my style and habits I tried to be as simple and short as possible.  I hope this put emphasis on the text and application.
  • “God is honored when you give everything”
  • Our band shared their hearts tonight in testimony from the floor before we ever sang a note. I have so enjoyed watching those guys grow up and grow on worship and leading. It is so fun for me to see them honor God in excellence. Their sharing set the tone for the night.
  • I am crushing on the new Tomlin song from Passion “Our God is greater”.
  • The glory goes to God…..man our band is good. They have to be the best I have ever seen with no one over 19.
  • Next week Jim Heffner is on for a one and done week. We are doing three of those called youpick to sandwich both sides of our Satan’s Sex Ed series. Our students voted and we will be spending time on spiritual warfare, forgiveness, and worship.
  • We stole a game from the world famous Saddleback HSM tonight and broke out the trout toss where you throw a raw fish. I think it worked pretty good. We might do it again.

Tonight was one of those nights where nothing went perfect.  Transitions, order, cues, but that stuff doesn’t matter.  There was a joy in the room because the Holy Spirit was working. There was an attitude of worship and some great smiles.


We all know there is nothing new under the sun. I was thinking today about phrases and concepts my friends have imparted to me. These phrases are not original to them but I think they tell you a lot about the personality and the friendship with that person.

1) I like the way I do evangelism better than the way you don’t-TK Kurtaneck

TK has helped teach me that evangelism isn’t a gift or option for some, but something we all need to do.  Rather than wasting time talking about technique…do it!

2) Behind every attack there is pain-Rick Nuzum

When a parent says my student ministry isn’t ______ enough, they might mean it or they might be attacking from the pain of their child not being interested in God or the church.

3) Your church is getting the exact results it was designed to get-Kary Oberbrunner

If people aren’t joining your small groups, you have to realize that the system you have in place is one that or some reason or another creates that result.


It’s been a while so how about some mind dump.

  • I am getting excited for the CE National Leadership Summit (CELS) for Youth workers. Dustin and I are taking some of our team this year and we have never done that before. For us this is the perfect distance, price, and intensity. Plus the driving time to brainstorm is priceless.
  • I am also getting excited about Kalahari. We are over 1,000 people this year. I really didn’t see that coming at all, but it is neat to see how God continues to say “keep doing this thing” every year when I am ready to pull the plug.
  • We are shaking up the behind the scenes inter-workings of Kalahari this year. It all started when I read a post on the blog of Dave Ferguson (author of THE BIG IDEA). His church has like 13 sites and they all combine for a retreat at the Wisconsin Kalahari with about 800 people. I realized they were the only ones in the country doing something similar to us so I called and we learned from them.
  • My church is taking 175 people. We have never taken a group that big any where. A 5-bus caravan is new stressful territory for us.
  • Josh Atkins and I are working on the Kalahari intro video. That is all I will say for now but it makes me giddy just thinking about it.
  • I got to lead worship last week and we pulled out rise and sing by FEE. I am sure FEE would have vomited but it was fun and received well by our church. We are doing it again this week.
  • I shaved today. I had like a 20-day beard going and didn’t know why.
  • Kary Oberbrunner is giving away an ipad and ramping up for the next book.
  • Had some great conversations with Jim Heffner and Rachel Weng today.
  • Tim Wright has a new blog. I am dieing to know what he ate for breakfast.
  • We canceled HSM this week and it was restful but an incomplete week to say the least.
  • I was trying to think how I could combine the lesson I was going to teach with next weeks and realized I can’t and shouldn’t. Less is more.
  • I am really excited to close out our Red Letters series talking about giving and the greatest commandment and the Widow’s mite.
  • Malachi had a little 2nd birthday party this week. All his 2-year old friends were there. It’s funny to think he already has a clique.
  • I am so excited for Ben Arment’s new book. I don’t know that there is a cooler thinker and leader around. We have met, but I respect him so much from afar.
  • I will close with this. On the weeks that I am not teaching or doing anything at HSM we sometimes play a game where people can write any words they want on a dry erase board and I try to freestyle them.  We did it last week. It is funny how much our students love it. I was pretty weak last time but those suburban kids had no clue!


My friend Nathanael got some tickets to WWE Monday Night Raw for Christmas. He asked me if I wanted to go and since the price was right (free) I said yes.  Just like many guys in there 20’s and 30’s I was mesmerized by Hulkamania in the 1980’s . I don’t follow wrestling much anymore but it was fun. I am always trying to learn from every situation I am in so here are some observations from my evening at WWE Monday Night Raw.

  • The demographic was eye-opening. I could do a whole entry on this but let me just say that I don’t believe most churches are reaching these people.  There were so many kids and single moms it was crazy.  The diversity was worth noting too. I think the WWE embodies putting people on their stage who represent those they want to reach.
  • The WWE understands merchandising. I have never seen so many people buy T-shirts at an event. I have been to stadium and arena rock tours and they were nothing like this. Something about their product says “buy me now”.
  • The WWE understands the use of media. Wrestlers always had intro songs but now it is one video after another.  Even between matches they were pitching event and products. Above the ring was a full light rigging that could also compete with any concert I have been too. There were also a ton of pyrotechnics that made me wet my pants.


This past month Luke Helmuth interned for HSM. He is leaving today but did an exit interview and asked me some questions. I decided to put the answers up on here. I will post his paper that he wrote about me (for better or worse including the parts that our humbling) this week also.

Luke asked……What are your….

Biblical and theological ideas informing your ministry,

Biblical and theological ideas obviously flow out of the FGBC statement of faith found here http://fgbc.org/whoarewe/covenant-and-statement-of-faith.cfm.

We also have a teaching plan that more specifically sticks to the 7 checkpoints. We want to teach the whole Bible but hope that we have instilled these things in students when they graduate. Authentic Faith, Spiritual disciplines, moral boundaries, healthy relationships, wise choices, and ultimate authority. I am influenced by blogs, books, conferences, etc. but I would lump them all into a young/progressive but conservative viewpoint.

Your self-understanding of the minister’s role in the congregation?

Ephesians 4:11

11It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, 12to prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up 13until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.

My job is to equip people to do ministry through the local church.  My job is not to be the great all American preacher/teacher as pastoral ministry has been defined. Obviously a pastors gifts aid and fit into the picture as he has gifts to use also, but even his best gifts are also shared and must be developed inside of others. 

Your self-understanding of the minister’s role in the community?

My role in the community is like Matthew 5 says, to be “salt and light”. I think often times we downplay the role of believers in the community by uplifting pastors and the things they are supposed to do.  Sometimes in the American culture we live in I have a an opportunity to go into schools and counsel or something but I believe most avenues of ministry are available to people who pursue loving people and relationships.

What are your denominational requirements for entering and remaining in the pastorate?

We are not a denomination, we are a fellowship so we do not have th rules that some have. We are autonomous and more like a fleet of ships sailing together. We do have common statement of faith that links us but hiring and pastoral ministry looks different in each church based in their culture and personality. We have a college and seminary we are affiliated with that I graduated from with ministry degrees but not all went there or have ministry degrees. We are licensed and ordained through the local church, but we share our approval/examination process with the NCO district of churches.

Where do you see your ministry growing in the next year?

Spiritually, I want to see us grow in humility. I want to see us grow in loving people and being salt and light. I find living like Jesus so clearly defined the older I get and yet we complicate it and fall short.

Organizationally, I want to see us grow and expand in all directions. We are getting larger so we have to get better at de-centralizing our discipleship and vision. We will not grow until more and more things are handed off to people who are equipped and have a common vision, but are empowered to make ministry happen.

I hope to see HSM grow in developing leaders. We have built a healthy environment of worship that is pointing people to God and giving Him praise weekly. We have a great network of small groups that are multiplying and growing and discipling, but that core needs to become selfless leaders who lead in worship, lead in growing others, and serve and outreach outside of themselves.

Where do you see your ministry growing in the next five years?

I hope that our ministry is reaching far outside of the walls of our church. I want HSM and our ministry to be synonymous with love, hope, and healing to every family and Powell through its image at Liberty high school.

How did you feel called into your vocation?

I think calling is a weird combination of gifting, passion, desire, humility, and opportunity.  Truthfully I like doing what I do and can’t imagine not doing it. I prayed to God and asked him to confirm my calling through desire and people in my life. I think the Lord gives you the desires of your heart and confirms calling by opening and closing doors.

How do you plan for a year?

I usually start strategizing in my head and taking notes. I pray through our schedule/teaching/and staff recruitment.

The first things is recruiting adults to do the work of the ministry so that we are engaging the body of Christ.

I design our teaching calendar and series for worship on Wednesdays.

We recruit, train, and group our adults for small groups.

We partner with other ministries in the church by recruiting and suggesting students to serve in roles of service.

What would you change about yourself to make yourself better?

I would make me more humble, clearly spoken, a better teacher and a better equipper of people. (After reading that you wonder what I’m good atJ)

What is your next event idea?

I would like to do a tailgate part in the parking lot of an Olentangy Liberty football game. This would have big idea wow factor but also feed people, let them see us having fun, loving them and also provide visibility for families and younger kids approaching high school. 5,000 people attend an average game and I want to tap into that audience outside of the walls of our church.